Military Re-enactment Events Military Re-Enactment!
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
It's time to get back in uniform!!

Among those of you who have yet to discover the fun of these events, it is high time that you get started! Every time that I attend a military re-enactment dance, the "actual" World War II veterans always express their gratitude to the dancers for bringing back a very precious nostalgia moment. Of course, our debt of gratitude to the WWII Vets is much, much greater --- still, the guys and gals seem to value highly being transported back to a 1943 USO Canteen, even if it is only for a moment.

Serious collectors with a big budget should check out the National Capital Historical Sales wesbite in Springfield, Virginia. This outfit, run by George Peterson, is the place to go for very hard to find uniforms and accessories. George is only open a few days a week (check his website for details and a map!), and it is wise to call him at 703-569-6663. George tells me to tell you NOT to send him an e-mail. Be prepared to bring large sums of cash...

Those with smaller budgets can think of scouring the thrift stores in areas near military bases. The good news is that modern navy enlisted mens's "Bluejackets" are not that much different that WWII issue. Army uniforms are another question. There was no Air Force durng WWII (it was part of the Army, not a separate branch.)

If all else fails, you can attend in 1940s period civilian gear. Spend $5 at George Peterson's (above) and get yourself an Honorable Discharge lapel pin. This features a standing eagle in a circle; it is more commonly known as a "Ruptured Duck"

The major DC Area WWII events were:

  • First week of June Reading, Pa Air Show and USO Dance
  • Mid June: Glen Echo USO Canteen Dance
  • Second Week of August: Calvert Marine Museum ATB Show
  • Late August: Frederick, Maryland Air Show and Hangar Dance
  • Around November 11: Veteran's Day Dance at Glen Echo
  • December 21: "Home for the Holidays" in Frederick

We were privileged to go to all of them, and ar proud to report on them. We'll be back next year! Here are some examples from past years.


Reading Air Show

June 7,8, & 9, 2002

We drove to Reading, PA for the World War II "Spend a Weekend in 1943" Weekend. A three-day pass cost $23 per person and includes HANGAR DANCE ON SATURDAY, JUNE 9 FROM 7-10 PM. The band was Swing Fever and were quite good.

You can see more Reading Air Show Website, or Our Photos


Glen Echo USO Dance

On June 29, 2002, Ellen and Marc hosted local favorites, Blue Sky Five at a swing dance in the Bumper Car pavillion at Glen Echo Park . Click here to read about the event and look at photos of the re-enactors


Calvert Marine Museum Dance

The Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons Island, Maryland annually celebrates the proud history of the Amphibious Training Base (ATB) that prepared soldiers for the many water-borne invasions from D-Day throught the broad expanese of the Pacific. On Saturday, August 10, they held a dinner dance with a re-enactment theme.


Frederick, Md Hangar Dance

The Wings of Freedom Fredrick Air Show was held August 17-18, 2002, featuring an exciting array of vitage aircraft from the collection of the Confederate Air Force. A favorite tradition of Wings of Freedom is the World War II Hangar Dance on the Friday evening (August 16) before the show. This kick-off event sets the tone for the weekend by taking you back in almost every detail to the early 1940s. From the warbirds parked in front of the hangar to the big-band sounds of Swing Shift, the guys and gals in uniforms, "zoot suits", and other period garb step back to a time when swing was king.

The evening began with complimentary swing dance lessons by Ellen and Marc, and then everyone jumped in!

Swing Shift, led by Gary Henson on trumpet brought the night alive with the sounds of the Forties. The event has been well attended and is generally a whole lot of fun. You can look at our writeup of the event or check the show's Website for more photos of the event


Manassas Air Show

The Manassas Air Show will be held on October 12-13, 2002. The event has hitherto featured little in the way of dancing, and this year was no exception.


Veteran's Day Dances

WoW! There were FIVE of them, and we managed to get to three of them. On November 9, the Washington Veteran's Committee held their annual dance at the Grand Hyatt Hotel; music was provided by the 21-piece Difficult Run Jazz Orchestra. On November 10, we attended the La Salle Dance Orchestra's Veteran's Theme Foxtrot and Charleston Tea Dance . Finally, Ellen and Marc hosted a special Veteran's Day dance on Monday, Nov 11 (i.e. Actually on Veteran's Day...). Click here to view pictures from all three dances.


Home for the Holidays

This year's dance was held on Saturday, December 21, 2002, featuring The New Columbia Swing Orchestra. The dance was held at the Talley Recreation Center, 121 North Bentz St. in Frederick, MD. A large crowd of revelers showed up, including a surprise visit from none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt (played by a fellow who wons a FDR museum in Olney...). The band was good, the hall was full and everyone had a great time. Click Here to see some photos from the event.

Scenes from PAST Reenactment Events

Here are some scenes from reenactment events in the past couple of years

Glen Echo
Discovery, Frank and Karen at USO Dance at Glen Echo, May 2000

The crowd joins the band to sing
"Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree"
Reading Air Show, June 2000

The gals pose with a
wonderful C-47 (Dakota)
Reading Air Show, June 2000

Karen and Mike
Karen Wibrew and Mike Wanas at the
Frederick Hangar Dance August 2000

Karen and Frank at the
Harrisburg Tropical Canteen September, 2000

Vets Dance
Arnold's Veteran's Dance, November 2000

The Guys with Chou Chou at the
Home For the Holidays Dance, December 2000

Glen Echo, 2001
This is Marc Shepanek and Ellen Engle
Ellen is wearing a gown that Marc commissioned for her
The gown is a duplicate of that worn by actress Betty Garrett, playing the role of "Hildegarde Esterhazy" in the film On the Town
This actress was paired with Frank Sinatra (Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin also appear as do Ann Miller and Vera-Ellen)

Vets Dance
Left to right: Jim dePrado (actually in the Air Force), Michael (a real cadet at VMI), Karyn (1943 WAVE Ensign), Frank (1943 Lt Cmdr, USN), Marc Shepanek (1940s Naval Intelligence), Steve Devoney (RAF), Little Eddie Devoney (in Stroller)

Vets Dance
This is Miles Hanby and Katrina Dols. Miles even brought his Jeep

Jump Alley
Jump Alley playing at the
New Market USO Dance May 2001

Andrews Sisters
Andrews Sisters recreation at the
New Market USO Dance May 2001

Diane and Karen
(and some silent friends)at the
New Market USO Dance May 2001

Liberty Cover
Liberty Magazine
August 1945 Cover

Karyn and Frank
at the
Arlington Sumphony Benefit Dance June 2, 2001

mike's booth
The Swing King Vintage Booth at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001
Check out the P-51 in the background!

Chrissy, Tricia and Karyn
Chrissy, Tricia and Karyn at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Ron and Bonnie
Ron and Bonnie at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Naval Competition
Another Naval Officer moves in on Nurse Karyn
at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Craig Gilder and Friend
Craig Gilder and Friend at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Some of the Philadelphia dancers
Some of the Philadelphia dancers at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Soutrh Pacific
"South Pacific" re-enactment at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Frank, Ginger, and Mike
Ginger played for the Grand Rapids Chicks
in the All Girls Professional Baseball League

inter-service conviviality at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

Amazing Hats at the
Reading Air Show, June 2001

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